Failure, criticism, and rejection all go under the banner of fear.
Fear is natural. It is in our genetics. It is part of our survival instinct. If we are walking in the woods and we see a big bear…we should be afraid. But what about fear of failure…is this natural? Consider a baby. When a baby begins to attempt to walk, is it afraid to fail? At first a baby must learn to stand up on its own without holding on to anything. This takes a long time. How many times does a baby fall down just attempting to stand? Does it ever think “I guess I’m just not good enough to do this?” Does it ever consider that it won’t be able to do it? No, every day the baby will stand up and fall down all day long until one day it stands up and does not fall down. Then the next phase begins; standing up and taking a step. This begins a new series of falling down that lasts for several more weeks. The fear of failing is not in the baby’s genetics. It simply will try until it walks. This will carry over into everything else a child does.
Fear of failure is learned from people. It is unnatural and leads to lives of “quiet desperation.” As we learn to fear failure we begin to miss out on things in life. This begins in our adolescence typically and the cost adds up over time. The most painful part is not the fear and the understanding that we are not choosing to pursue something at that time in our life. The painful part happens later in life when we look back through the window of time and realize we could have done that thing that we feared. This is when the pain of regret sets in. This pain lasts a lifetime. The sad part is that some things in life have a time limitation. If we don’t attempt them in a certain phase of life, it is not physically possible to attempt them later.
I learned this lesson the hard way multiple times. So here is what I want to impart to you: If you have developed an unhealthy life-limiting fear of failure, acknowledge that it is true. Knowing that you are going to have the fear, recognize this: Action will cure fear. Always! In all things. Redirect your fear to the thing that is worthy of fear….regret. A life time of regret is worth fearing and way more painful than a moment of courage in the face of fear.
You know deep inside the things you want to do in your life. Perhaps you are making the excuse that you will do it when you retire, or when you have more time, or when you have more money, or…
There is not a single guarantee that you will have even one more minute on this earth. As you read this, countless people around the world, will take their last breath with unfulfilled desires, dreams, gifts, talents…what a waste of the blessings. Why wait even a day to begin pursuing the desires of your heart? You are special…no matter what you say to yourself, you are. Live life to the full. You can. You should. You are supposed to.
Have a great story about overcoming fear? I’d love to hear it.